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Isleworth, Middlesex

Historical Description

Isleworth, a large village and a parish in Middlesex. The village stands on the river Thames, 1 mile SW from Brentford, and 9 miles from London; was known at Domesday as Ghistelworde, afterwards as Yhistelworth, Istelworth, and Thistleworth; communicates by an old-established ferry with Richmond and Kew, consists chiefly of one street with a square, was a very fashionable place prior to the removal of the Court from Kew, has again come into much favour since the railway period; enjoys fine amenities of ground, water, climate, and scenery; commands pleasant facilities for cricketing, aquatic sports, bathing, and rural enjoyment; has a good reading-room, is noted for sending large supplies of fruit to the London market, and has a station on the L. & S.W.R., a head post office, and a two-days' pleasure fair, commencing on the first Monday of July. There is a large brewery, a flour mill worked partly by steam and partly by water power, cement mills, and the large manufactory of soap carried on by Pears Soap Company, Limited. The parish contains also Brentford End, Smallbury Green, Whit-ton Dean, Wyke Green, and part of the town of Hounslow; and includes all the chapelry of St John, and parts of the chapelries of Hounslow and Spring Grove. Acreage, 3144; population, 15, 884. The manor belonged, before the Conquest, to Earl Algar, passed to Walter de St Valery, and subsequently to Richard king of the Romans, who built a castle on it; was the scene, in 1263, of the encampment of the insurgent barons against Henry III.; was the scene, in the following year, of ravages by the citizens of London, who destroyed its castle and two mills; passed afterwards to the Crown, was given in 1414 by Henry V. to a convent of Bridgetine nuns, called Sion Monastery; went, after the dissolution, in the time of Edward VI., to the Duke of Somerset; reverted, at the Duke's attainder, to the Crown; and was granted, in 1604, to Henry Earl of Northumberland. The monastery was built originally within Twickenham parish, but was removed in 1432 to Isleworth; is said, as it stood here to have been a spacious edifice, but, with the exception of some vaulted rooms still used as offices, has completely disappeared. A noble mansion, called Syon or Sion House, was built on or near its site, by the Duke of Somerset, and had a botanic garden. That mansion was the place where Lady Jane Grey was forced to accept the crown, and was also a favourite retreat of Protector Cromwell. A reconstruction of it was done by the Earl of Northumberland, after designs by Adams, at a cost of £9000, and the mansion has continued in the possession of the Earl's representatives, and has undergone repeated and various improvements. It is an imposing quadrangular pile, in a very fine park, and magnificently furnished, yet presents no marked architectural features. It contains many valuable paintings and other works of art, and its gardens are justly reckoned among the finest in the kingdom. In the centre of the river front there now stands, on a raised pedestal, the famous lion which formerly surmounted the front of Northumberland House at Charing Cross. One entrance to its park is close to the parish church at the E end of the village. Many elegant residences are in the parish, among which may be named Isleworth House and Gordon House-the last the residence of the late Justice Haliburton, better known as Sam Slick. Much of the land is disposed in market gardens. Lord Baltimore, the founder of Maryland; the Countess of Sutherland, "Waller's " Saccharissa;" Talbot, Duke of Shrewsbury; the Duchess of Kendal, whose name is associated with that of George I., and Sheridan, were natives. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of London; net yearly value,, £300 with residence. Patrons, the Dean and Canons of Windsor. The church is mainly a reconstruction of 1705, has an old ivy-clad tower, presents a picturesque appearance as seen from the river, and contains some interesting brasses and monuments; it was restored and a large chancel was added in 1866. Byfield the commentator and Cave were vicars. The ecclesiastical parish of St John the Baptist was formed in 1857. The living is a vicarage, in the gift of the Vicar of Isleworth; gross yearly value, £250 with residence. The church stands at Woodlands, near the railway station, was erected at a cost of £9000, and is a very handsome edifice in the Early English style. There is an iron church which is used as a chapel of ease to the parish church, and there are Catholic, Congregational, and Wesleyan chapels, and a Friends' meeting-house. Gumley House is a Roman Catholic establishment for young ladies and professed nuns. The Blue School is for boys, and to this is attached a middle-class school also for boys. The Green School, erected and endowed by the late Frances Julia, Duchess of Northumberland, is for girls. There are also national schools, a Catholic school, and the Brentford district schools, erected in 1883 at a cost of £20, 000. There are also several almshouses, and the Brentford Workhouse. There are some valuable charities belonging to this parish.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyMiddlesex 
Ecclesiastical parishIsleworth All Saints 
Poor Law unionBrentford 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Isleworth from the following:

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Middlesex is online.


Online maps of Isleworth are available from a number of sites:

Villages, Hamlets, &c

Brentford End
Smallberry Green
Whitton Dean
Wyke Green
CountyGreater London
Postal districtTW7
Post TownIsleworth